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Costs could be cut by backcountry hut plan

24 April 2008 Media Release

Costs could be cut by backcountry hut plan

The Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Department of Building and Housing are working on a plan to cut red tape for backcountry hut building consents, Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick said today.

“The Department of Building and Housing (DBH) will consult on a new ‘common-sense’ approach to backcountry huts, aimed at reducing compliance costs, simplifying building consent processes, and recognising this unique building type,” Steve Chadwick said.

DBH, in conjunction with DOC, will consult on a number of changes to the Building Code so new huts of standard designs, and in backcountry locations, will be covered in a compliance document that is deemed to meet the Code.

Under existing rules, DOC, which manages more than 940 huts in backcountry locations across New Zealand, is required to apply to individual councils every time it seeks to build a new hut.

“Last month my colleague Shane Jones announced a plan to streamline the consent process for simple starter homes and this new strategy sits alongside that plan.”

Shane Jones also announced work on multi-use consents, making Project Information Memorandums (PIMs) voluntary and reducing the number of building activities requiring a building consent.

“We have had a fantastic response from DBH and the proposed changes will make a big difference to DOC, providing a more streamlined process for obtaining building consents for backcountry huts.

“In the next 20 years many backcountry huts are due to be replaced – removing unnecessary paperwork now will help local authorities save time and ultimately save taxpayers’ money in the future.

“Cutting compliance costs for building new huts is a good example of a practical, commonsense approach which could have significant cost-saving implications. But before this plan goes ahead I want to ensure we consult widely and ensure all sections of the community are informed.”

ENDS

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